Pages Navigation Menu

Supreme Court justice and civil rights advocate

Quotes

Thurgood Marshall Quote

A Quote by Thurgood Marshall on constitution and freedom

Today’s Constitution is a realistic document of freedom only because of several corrective amendments. Those amendments speak to a sense of decency and fairness that I and other Blacks cherish.
 

Source: We The People, 1987

A Quote by Thurgood Marshall on america, babies, challenge, children, goals, motherhood, and worth

A child born to a Black mother in a state like Mississippi . . . has exactly the same rights as a white baby born to the wealthiest person in the United States. It’s not true, but I challenge anyone to say it is not a goal worth working for.
 

Source: c. 1980

A Quote by Thurgood Marshall on death, husbands, and jealousy

I have a lifetime appointment and I intend to serve it. I expect to die at 110, shot by a jealous husband.
 

Source: International Herald Tribune, 15 Jan 1990

A Quote by Thurgood Marshall on facts and police

Surely the fact that a uniformed police officer is wearing his hair below his collar will make him no less identifiable as a policeman.
 

Source: Dissenting opinion in 7-2 ruling that upheld police rules on short haircuts and no beards, 6 Apr 76

A Quote by Thurgood Marshall on grace, losing, and winning

We can always stick together when we are losing, but tend to find means of breaking up when we’re winning. In Grace under Pressure.
 

Source: Grace under Pressure, by Hastie, 1984

A Quote by Thurgood Marshall on history and liberty

History teaches that grave threats to liberty often come in times of urgency, when constitutional rights seem too extravagant to endure.
 

A Quote by Thurgood Marshall on poverty, wealthy, poor, wealth, united states, u s, goal, inequality, gap between rich and poor, and human rights

A child born to a black mother in a state like Mississippi . . . has the same rights as a white baby born to the wealthiest person in the United States. It’s not true, but I challenge anyone to say it is not a goal worth working for.
 

Source: Thieves in High Places: They’ve Stolen Our Country–And It’s Time to Take It Back, Pages: 116

A Quote by Thurgood Marshall on history

Sometimes history takes things into its own hands.
 

Source: c. 1983

A Quote by Thurgood Marshall on babies and justice

Customary greeting to Chief Justice Warren E. Burger, What’s shaking, chiefy baby?
 

Source: quoted by M.D. Davis and H.R. Clark in Thurgood Marshall: Warrior at the Bar, Rebel on the Bench, 1992

A Quote by Thurgood Marshall on control, giving, government, men, power, and thought

Our whole constitutional heritage rebels at the thought of giving government the power to control men’s minds.
 

Source: Unanimous opinion, guarantees right to have at home material, obscene if in public, 7 Apr 1969

A Quote by Thurgood Marshall on humanity

In recognizing the humanity of our fellow beings, we pay ourselves the highest tribute.
 

A Quote by Thurgood Marshall on challenge and discrimination

[Ending racial discrimination in jury selection] can be accomplished only by eliminating peremptory challenges entirely.
 

Source: Majority opinion in 7-2 ruling that made it more difficult to exclude blacks from juries, 30 Apr 1986

A Quote by Thurgood Marshall on books and business

If the 1st Amendment means anything, it means that a state has no business telling a man, sitting alone in his own house, what books he may read or what films he may watch.
 

Source: Unanimous opinion, guarantees right to have at home material, obscene if in public, 7 Apr 1969

A Quote by Thurgood Marshall on discrimination, history, practice, and shame

[It is] a historic step toward eliminating the shameful practice of racial discrimination in the selection of juries.
 

Source: Majority opinion in 7-2 ruling that made it more difficult to exclude blacks from juries, 30 Apr 1986

A Quote by Thurgood Marshall on belief, concern, danger, defense, failure, guilt, insanity, and punishment

[Jurors who are opposed to capital punishment are] more likely to believe that a defendant’s failure to testify is indicative of his guilt, more hostile to the insanity defense, more mistrustful of defense attorneys and less concerned about the danger of erroneous convictions.
 

Source: Dissenting opinion in 6-3 ruling regarding juries in capital cases, 5 May 1986

A Quote by Thurgood Marshall on control, giving, government, men, power, and thought

Our whole constitutional heritage rebels at the thought of giving government the power to control men’s minds.
 

Source: Unanimous opinion, guarantees right to have at home material, obscene if in public, 7 Apr 1969

A Quote by Thurgood Marshall

Mere access to the courthouse doors does not by itself assure a proper functioning of the adversary process.
 

Source: Majority opinion in 8-1 ruling regarding insanity pleas, psychiatrists help preparing cases,26 Feb 1985

In recognizing the humanity of our fellow beings, we pay ourselves the highest tribute.
 
Ending racial discrimination in jury selection can be accomplished only by eliminating peremptory challenges entirely.
 
Our whole constitutional heritage rebels at the thought of giving government the power to control men’s minds.
 
I have a lifetime appointment and I intend to serve it. I expect to die at 110, shot by a jealous husband.
 
We got here because somebody – a parent, a teacher, an Ivy League crony or a few nuns – bent down and helped us pick up our boots.
 
A child born to a Black mother in a state like Mississippi… has exactly the same rights as a white baby born to the wealthiest person in the United States. It’s not true, but I challenge anyone to say it is not a goal worth working for.
 
Sometimes history takes things into its own hands.
 
Surely the fact that a uniformed police officer is wearing his hair below his collar will make him no less identifiable as a policeman.
 
If the First Amendment means anything, it means that a state has no business telling a man, sitting alone in his house, what books he may read or what films he may watch.
 
Today’s Constitution is a realistic document of freedom only because of several corrective amendments. Those amendments speak to a sense of decency and fairness that I and other Blacks cherish.
 
What is the quality of your intent?
 
Mere access to the courthouse doors does not by itself assure a proper functioning of the adversary process.
 
Certain people have a way of saying things that shake us at the core.
 
Even when the words do not seem harsh or offensive, the impact is shattering.
 
What we could be experiencing is the intent behind the words.
 
When we intend to do good, we do.
 
When we intend to do harm, it happens.
 
What each of us must come to realize is that our intent always comes through.
 
We cannot sugarcoat the feelings in our heart of hearts.
 
The emotion is the energy that motivates.
 
We cannot ignore what we really want to create.
 
We should be honest and do it the way we feel it.
 
What we owe to ourselves and everyone around is to examine the reasons of our true intent.
 
Ending racial discrimination in jury selection can be accomplished only by eliminating peremptory challenges entirely. 
Even if all parties approach the court’s mandate with the best of conscious intentions,… that mandate requires them to confront and overcome their own racism on all levels — a challenge I doubt all of them can meet.
 
History teaches that grave threats to liberty often come in times of urgency, when constitutional rights seem too extravagant to endure. 
I have a lifetime appointment and I intend to serve it. I expect to die at 110, shot by a jealous husband.
I wish I could say that racism and prejudice were only distant memories. We must dissent from the indifference. We must dissent from the apathy. We must dissent from the fear, the hatred and the mistrust…. We must dissent because America can do better, because America has no choice but to do better.
 
If the First Amendment means anything, it means that a state has no business telling a man, sitting alone in his house, what books he may read or what films he
 
I’m the world’s original gradualist. I just think ninety-odd years is gradual enough.
 
In recognizing the humanity of our fellow beings, we pay ourselves the highest tribute.
 
Lawlessness is lawlessness. Anarchy is anarchy is anarchy. Neither race nor color nor frustration is an excuse for either lawlessness or anarchy.
 
Mere access to the courthouse doors does not by itself assure a proper functioning of the adversary process.
 
None of us got where we are solely by pulling ourselves up by our bootstraps.
 
Nothing can be more notorious than the calumnies and invectives with which the wisest measures and most virtuous characters of The United States have been pursued and traduced
 
Our whole constitutional heritage rebels at the thought of giving government the power to control men’s minds.
 
Some may more quietly commemorate the suffering, struggle, and sacrifice that has triumphed over much of what was wrong with the original document, and observe the anniversary with hopes not realized and promises not fulfilled. I plan to celebrate the bicentennial of the Constitution as a living document, including the Bill of Rights and the other amendments protecting individual freedoms and human rights. 
Sometimes history takes things into its own hands.
 
The government they devised was defective from the start, requiring several amendments, a civil war, and major social transformations to attain the system of constitutional government and its respect for the freedoms and individual rights, we hold as fundamental today.
 
The measure of a country’s greatness is its ability to retain compassion in times of crisis.
 
The United States has been called the melting pot of the world. But it seems to me that the colored man either missed getting into the pot or he got melted down.
 
Today’s Constitution is a realistic document of freedom only because of several corrective amendments. Those amendments speak to a sense of decency and fairness that I and other Blacks cherish.
 
We can always stick together when we are losing, but tend to find means of breaking up when we’re winning.
 
What is the quality of your intent? Certain people have a way of saying things that shake us at the core. Even when the words do not seem harsh or offensive, the impact is shattering. What we could be experiencing is the intent behind the words. When we intend to do good, we do. When we intend to do harm, it happens. What each of us must come to realize is that our intent always comes through.
 
The ban directly hampers the party’s ability to spread its message and hamstrings voters seeking to inform themselves about the candidates and issues
 
Change the way I see the world.
 
Even if all parties approach the court’s mandate with the best of conscious intentions, … that mandate requires them to confront and overcome their own racism on all levels a challenge I doubt all of them can meet.
 
The equal protection clause does not require proportional representation, … meaningless ballots.
 
Even if all parties approach the court’s mandate with the best of conscious intentions, … that mandate requires them to confront and overcome their own racism on all levels û a challenge I doubt all of them can meet.
 
Today’s Constitution is a realistic document of freedom only because of several corrective amendments. Those amendments speak to a sense of decency and fairness that I and other Blacks cherish.
 
What is the quality of your intent?
 
Ending racial discrimination in jury selection can be accomplished only by eliminating peremptory challenges entirely.
 
Mere access to the courthouse doors does not by itself assure a proper functioning of the adversary process.
 
In recognizing the humanity of our fellow beings, we pay ourselves the highest tribute.
 
Sometimes history takes things into its own hands.
 
If the 1st Amendment means anything, it means that a state has no business telling a man, sitting alone in his own house, what books he may read or what films he may watch.
 
I have a lifetime appointment and I intend to serve it. I expect to die at 110, shot by a jealous husband.
 
What is the quality of your intent?Certain people have a way of saying things that shake us at the core. Even when the words do not seem harsh or offensive, the impact is shattering. What we could be experiencing is the intent behind the words. When we intend to do good, we do. When we intend to do harm, it happens. What each of us must come to realize is that our intent always comes through. We cannot sugarcoat the feelings in our heart of hearts. The emotion is the energy that motivates. We cannot ignore what we really want to create. We should be honest and do it the way we feel it. What we owe to ourselves and everyone around is to examine the reasons of our true intent.My intent will be evident in the results.
 
We must dissent from the indifference. We must dissent from the apathy. We must dissent from the fear, the hatred and the mistrust. We must dissent from a nation that has buried its head in the sand, waiting in vain for the needs of its poor, its elderly, and its sick to disappear and just blow away. We must dissent from a government that has left its young without jobs, education or hope. We must dissent from the poverty of vision and the absence of moral leadership. We must dissent because America can do better, because America has no choice but to do better.
 
I wish I could say that racism and prejudice were only distant memories. We must dissent from the indifference. We must dissent from the apathy. We must dissent from the fear, the hatred and the mistrust…We must dissent because America can do better, because America has no choice but to do better.
 
The measure of a country’s greatness is its ability to retain compassion in times of crisis.
 
The United States has been called the melting pot of the world. But it seems to me that the colored man either missed getting into the pot or he got melted down.
 
Equal means getting the same thing, at the same time and in the same place.
 
A man can make what he wants of himself if he truly believes that he must be ready for hard work and many heartbreaks.
In recognizing the humanity of our fellow beings, we pay ourselves the highest tribute.
 
You do what you think is right and let the law catch up
 
The Ku Klux Klan never dies. They just stop wearing sheets because sheets cost too much.
 
Our whole constitutional heritage rebels at the thought of giving government the power to control men’s minds.
 
Mere access to the courthouse doors does not by itself assure a proper functioning of the adversary process.
 
We can always stick together when we are losing, but tend to find means of breaking up when we’re winning. In Grace under Pressure, by Hastie, 1984.
 
What’s shaking, chiefy baby?
 
A man can make what he wants of…
 
Lawlessness is lawlessness. Anarchy is anarchy is anarchy. Neither race nor color nor frustration is an excuse for either lawlessness or anarchy.
 
The ban directly hampers the partys ability to spread its message and hamstrings voters seeking to inform themselves about the candidates and issues
 
I have a lifetime appointment and I intend to serve it. I expect to die at 110, shot by a jealous husband.
 
[It is] a historic step toward eliminating the shameful practice of racial discrimination in the selection of juries.
 
Sometimes history takes things into its own hands.
 
The First Amendment serves not only the needs of the polity but also those of the human spirit- a spirit that demands self-expression .
 
I’m the world’s original gradualist. I just think ninety-odd years is gradual enough.
 
What is the quality of your intent?
 
History teaches that grave threats to liberty often come in times of urgency, when constitutional rights seem too extravagant to endure.
 
Today’s Constitution is a realistic document of freedom only because of several corrective amendments. Those amendments speak to a sense of decency and fairness that I and other Blacks cherish.
 
Customary greeting to Chief Justice Warren E. Burger, What’s shaking, chiefy baby?
 
We must dissent from the fear.
 
Classifications and distinctions based on race or color have no moral or legal validity in our society. They are contrary to our constitution and laws.
 
If the First Amendment means anything, it means that a state has no business telling a man, sitting alone in his house, what books he may read or what films he may watch.
 
Nothing can be more notorious than the calumnies and invectives with which the wisest measures and most virtuous characters of The United States have been pursued and traduced
 
Some years ago I said in an opinion that if this country is a melting pot, then either the Afro-Americans didn’t get in the pot or he didn’t get melted down.
 
The death penalty is no more effective a deterrent than life imprisonment… It is also evident that the burden of capital punishment falls upon the poor, the ignorant and the – underprivileged members of society.
 
The Constitution was a product of its times.
 
It is now well established that the Constitution protects the right to receive information and ideas. … This right to receive information and ideas, regardless of their social worth, … is fundamental to our free society.
 
When in Gregg v. Georgia the Supreme Court gave its seal of approval to capital punishment, this endorsement was premised on the promise that capital punishment would be administered with fairness and justice. Instead, the promise has become a cruel and empty mockery. If not remedied, the scandalous state of our present system of capital punishment will cast a pall of shame over our society for years to come. We cannot let it continue.
 
Patriotic feelings will surely swell, prompting proud proclamations of the wisdom, foresight, and sense of justice shared by the Framers and reflected in a written document now yellowed with age . . . For many Americans the bicentennial celebration will be little more than a blind pilgrimage to the shrine of the original document now stored in a vault in the National Archives.
 
I cannot accept this invitation [to celebrate the bicentenial of the Constitution], for I do not believe that the meaning of the Constitution was forever ‘fixed’ at the Philadelphia Convention… To the contrary, the government they devised was defective from the start.
 
Truth is more than a mental exercise.
 
Jurors who are opposed to capital punishment are] more likely to believe that a defendant’s failure to testify is indicative of his guilt, more hostile to the insanity defense, more mistrustful of defense attorneys and less concerned about the danger of erroneous convictions.
 
Our Constitution is the envy of the world, as it should be for it is the grand design of the finest nation on earth.